Timber Falls

Timber Falls


Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

This derivative horror schlock has only one solitary point of interest: with the sub-genre tag ‘torture-porn’ clearly bad for business, this latest addition to the wilting canon asks to return instead to the nom de guerre ‘survival horror’. Much more palatable. With drivel like Timber Falls the blood-flecked sputum bubble of such movies’ contemporary popularity has surely now ruptured.

Typically attractive couple Sheryl (Brianna Brown, Knocked Up) and Mike (Josh Randall, One Of Our Own) leave the big smoke for a weekend’s camping up in the beautifully wooded mountains of West Virginia. Almost straight away they bump into three cardboard-thin clichés - I mean, bearded and menacing redneck locals. With said run-in ticked off they settle down to an intimate night beneath the stars and patented waterproof fabric.

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When Mike then wakes to find that Sheryl is missing he instantly assumes the rednecks are to blame. His panicked and stricken search for them, however, leads to the remote cabin of a kindly, God-fearing woman. Of course, she is hardly as she first appears and before long Mike finds Sheryl trussed up in the labyrinthine cellar, surrounded by burning candles, crucifixes and foetus-filled jars. Soon the couple are subjected to the woman and her family’s gruelling and manically religious torments.

The bloodletting and gore that ensues is pretty anaemic and, disturbing to say, boringly formulaic. It doesn’t help that everything is also entirely predictable, absolutely devoid of any shocks or scares and accompanied by rotten routine music. As Sheryl and Mike aren’t particularly deep or likable characters you don’t really care about their peril, either. As they stumble, weep and bleed through plot holes the size of their inexplicably roomy two-person tent, the whole affair quickly turns to tedium.

There’s one dialogue-heavy scene that reveals the psychos’ motivations as their fervent beliefs justify their despicable actions in the name of the Lord. It’s an attempted rail against the dangers of blinkered and extremist religion and its threats to mainstream America, and against those total non-believers living within that very mainstream, too. The brain-splattered crucifixes pad out the rest of the usual punishing psycho-sexual shenanigans, but it’s all tritely handled. Director Tony Giglio and writer Daniel Kay back away from any nods to the likes of The Evil Dead and co to leave the film almost amusing, but in all the wrong ways.

There’s an argument that horror films can help to cathartically alleviate the real horror and distress we feel about us in the world today. These are globally fearful times, hence such films’ current, albeit faltering, resurgence. At least this effort is an unhealthy reminder that we should make a concerted attempt to sort some things out, before they make more films like it.

If you go down to the woods today, that’s one way to avoid Timber Falls.

Reviewed on: 16 Mar 2008
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A couple’s camping trip turns into a gruelling nightmare.
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Anton Bitel *1/2

Director: Tony Giglio

Writer: Daniel Kay, Tony Giglio

Starring: Josh Randall, Brianna Brown, Beth Broderick, Nick Searcy, Sascha Rosemann

Year: 2007

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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